Christmas markets are beloved of people who love to turn the chore of Christmas shopping into an exciting and indulgent event. After the hiatus of last year, most towns and cities are welcoming seasonal visitors once again, and the choice of where to head for mulled wine and inspirational gifts is overwhelming. And so, to help you choose, we’ve brought together a list of the best UK Christmas markets in 2021.
Edinburgh is an elegant city and this year’s Christmas Markets, from 20th November to 4th January, make it even more beautiful.
East Princes Street Gardens will be transformed into a haven for lovers of delicious food and drink, and West Princes Street will welcome Santa Land, a seasonal wonderland with a traditional Santa’s Grotto, craft stalls and plenty of opportunities for family fun.
Residents and tourists alike will be delighted by the return of the ice rink. This year it is even more special with unique skate-up eateries and hot chocolate stands.
Families looking for adventure will love the Forth 1 Big Wheel and the Star Flyer, which will have stunning views of Edinburgh Castle. Those looking forward to a more leisurely December day out should seek out the ‘Winter Windows’ project, local artist Hannah Ayre’s snowflake art installation or the Nativity scene in St Andrew’s Square.
RELATED: BEST WINTER DESTINATIONS IN SCOTLAND
The Victorian Arcades, quaint Edwardian streets and plentiful restaurants in Cardiff already make it a fantastic place to do your Christmas shopping and the festive market; just 5 minutes away from all the amenities is the plum on the pudding.
Visit the historic capital city of Wales from 11th November to 23rd December and enjoy a wide selection of unique craft stalls selling beautiful gifts while taking in views of lovely Bute Park and dramatic Cardiff Castle.
Cardiff’s is an outdoor market on wide pedestrianised streets, so you can safely wander between friendly stallholders while sipping a warming mulled wine and nibbling on sweet treats.
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is an annual German-themed festive event that drenches the streets of our second city with the delightful aroma of warm Gluhwein and spicy Bratwurst sausages. It brings a happy smile to the faces of locals and visitors alike.
Open from 4th November until 9th January, the market will transform New Street and Victoria Square into a cheerful maze of food and drink stalls selling Germanic delicacies such as Brezel and steins of beer, joyful bands, plus chalets full of traditional toys and intricate ornaments.
If you have kids, and even if you don’t, head to the entrance of the Council House to visit Chris Moose, a creature who adores serenading the people of his adopted city with carols and Christmassy songs. After that, the little ones will be thrilled with a ride on the gorgeous carousel.
The St Nicholas Fair is one of the highlights of ancient York’s Christmas season. Between 18th November and 23rd December, Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, pedestrianised areas in the city’s heart, will be full of alpine chalets, twinkly lights and jolly artisans selling their wares.
Mulled Yorkshire cider, a mouth-watering speciality, will warm your cockles as you soak up the magical atmosphere. And not far away, on Stonegate, you’ll discover a shop selling roast dinners presented like the best present you’ll ever have in a Yorkshire pudding wrap.
Next to the iconic street of the same name, the permanent Shambles market also puts on its glad rags for Christmas. The indie traders are rightly proud of the unique gifts they sell and of their incredible city.
Once you’re shopped out and full of food, head to Kings Square and treat the children to a well-deserved trip on the colourful carousel.
Chester is another of the U. K’s prettiest cities, and at the Christmas market, from 18th November to 22nd December, yuletide excitement awaits. Chalets like those you would find nestled below snow-covered mountains line the gorgeous Town Hall Square, and the entire market is presided over by Chester Cathedral.
Many of the jolly stallholders sell handmade objects that you wouldn’t find anywhere else or local produce to tickle the tastebuds of your Christmas visitors. Once you’ve completed your shopping, grab a fragrant, spiced mulled wine and soak up the sight of the famous sparkling Christmas tree.
If you’re planning a visit to Chester this December, aim for the 9th or 16th at 7 pm so you and your family can enjoy the historic Winter Watch Parades. It’s a ritual that dates back to the 1400s and is a fun parade that includes mystical creatures, a Samba Band, a giant Santa and a jaw-dropping fire breathing finale.
From 20th November, the Belfast Christmas Market gleefully takes over the grounds of the City Hall. It’s an award-winning event that combines the best of Northern Irish hospitality with international tastes and textures.
Children and adults alike will adore the towering vintage Helter Skelter and the galloping horses of the carousel.
The gift-shopping is undoubtedly great at Belfast’s market, but it’s the street food that impresses! Tuck into exotic crocodile burgers or giant bratwurst sausages from the famous Schwenkegrill, and then sink your sweet tooth into Dutch pancakes and treats from Belfast’s much-loved ice cream shop Rossi’s.
To fully appreciate a trip to London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland would take a week! There is a vast amount to see and do, from absorbing ice-sculpting workshops and watching heart-stopping routines by acrobats at the circus to bundling up for a drink of champagne in an igloo ice bar.
You will be mesmerised by the charming wooden huts filled with handmade tree decorations, yummy food, and unusual gifts at the enormous Christmas Market.
The Wonderland is decorated beautifully and is particularly spectacular when visited once the sun has gone down and twinkling fairy lights illuminate the cold winter nights.
Winchester is a small cathedral city with a big heart and one of the most popular Christmas Markets in Europe. From 19th November to 22nd December, Winchester Cathedral’s inner close is transformed into a traditional German-style market.
At the heart of a cathedral and with an elaborate nativity scene, the location reminds visitors of the original meaning of Christmas. The exhibitors, hand-picked by the organisers, sell high-quality, unique gifts or tempting festive food and drink.
Winchester is well worth more than one visit; the pretty chalets welcome two sets of independent retailers each season so that shoppers have fresh opportunities to complete their Christmas shopping.